The Q&A Archives: Transplanting Lilac

Question: I mistakenly planted a very young Lilac bush too close to a dryer vent last summer. I placed a barrier to protect it during the winter but feel it best if it is moved to a safer area to grow.
Question: WHEN should I move it, and HOW do I move it?

Answer: The best time to move it would be in early spring as soon as the ground is workable. Prepare the new planting site first, then dig it up. Be prepared to place it on a tarp or into a wheel barrow to move it as it may be heavy, depending on how far the roots have grown. To dig it up, start by digging about 18 inches away from the plant. If by chance the roots have grown that far, take as much of the root ball as you can. Otherwise, move closer in to the original rootball until you find roots and take as many of them as you can. Dig as deep under the plant as you can, too, to take as many of the deeper roots as possible. Replant immediately and water it in well, then add several inches of organic mulch to help keep the soil moist and cool this summer. Water it regularly to keep the soil moist yet not soggy, just as you would for a newly planted shrub. It sounds more complicated than it really is.

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